Odierno, Petraeus, and the dork who promoted them.
Good news for peaceniks. Sound like some of the Democrats most invested in the Presidential campaign worked to make sure their interest in ending the Iraq war came across at hearings in the Senate today on promotions for Generals Petraeus and Odierno. Spencer Ackerman reported the hearings at the Washington Independent.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who very much wants to be picked as Obama's running mate, pushed Odierno hard on just what conditions in Iraq would justify removing U.S. troops. The general weaseled around a lot, but finally admitted that if Iraq seemed to have a government with some capacity, the U.S. could get out. Of course the Iraqis may throw the U.S. out before we decide they've reached that milestone, but it took a lot of pushing from Webb to get a definition from Odierno that it would ever be time to bring the troops home.
Webb also stood up to Petraeus when the general tried to palm off platitudes about Iran's malign influence in Iraq.
Senator Hillary Clinton showed up at the hearings also. She asked Petraeus something usually unmentionable these days: should all those troops in Afghanistan be trying to capture bin Laden -- was that important? Oh yeah, that guy with the beard...
Clinton also wanted to know from Odierno "how long would it take for a responsible withdrawal from Iraq?" He hemmed and hawed -- but indicated the military would figure this out if ordered.
So none of this sounds very bold or peaceful -- and it isn't. But clearly both Webb and Clinton, who have reason to know, understand that under a Democratic administration the people will be in no mood for continuing these endless wars. They have that message. Let them compete for who can make the best plan for cutting U.S. losses. That's politics working.